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by Abigail Van Buren

'Just' A Receptionist Should 'Just' End The Friendship

DEAR ABBY: I am a retired woman, active in my community and troubled by a recent incident involving a longtime friend. This is the third time it has happened, and it left me feeling embarrassed.

When we're out together meeting new people, she will introduce herself as being a secretary or a senior secretary and me as "just" a receptionist. The job title is true, but I hold a college degree. I have held other positions commanding greater respect. I am chair of the local Council on Aging, a Town Meeting member and on the Cultural Council. The last time it happened, I had brought her to a lunch at a very nice restaurant, and the people we were meeting were members of my community.

Why does this make me feel so demeaned? Am I being petty or vainly pretentious? Right now I no longer want to continue the friendship. Can you help me understand and form a game plan? I think I may be too close to the forest to see the trees. -- MORE THAN A JOB TITLE IN NEW ENGLAND

DEAR MORE THAN A JOB TITLE: Your "friend" is insecure. That she describes you as "just" a receptionist is her attempt to make her own job designation appear more important. And that's what is offensive.

You don't need a "game plan" in dealing with her. "Just" tell her to cut it out or the friendship will be history. Whatever happens after that, your problem will be solved -- one way or another.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Work & School